A “coordinated cancellation” discussion on how to effectively pull subscriptions and advertising from The Times-Picayune to “send a message” to its parent company is among the activities slated for a “Save The Picayune” rally starting at 5:30 p.m. Monday at Rock-N-Bowl in Mid-City New Orleans.
The protest, according to New Orleans’ Gambit, is in response to the recent announcement from Times-Pic owner Advance Publications that it will shift to publishing a print edition only three days per week starting this fall, in exchange for more digital focus and breaking online news through its website, Nola.com:
The protest comes on the heels of Advance signaling that it’s heard some of the most vociferous complaints made by the paper’s local readership. The garish new “yellow journalism” color scheme of nola.com disappeared early this morning and was replaced by a more sedate blue and gray. Advance also made the color switch at al.com, the web portal for its Alabama newspaper group (The Birmingham News, the Press-Register of Mobile and The Huntsville Times), where layoffs are also expected to begin next week. The renamed Alabama Media Group will be publishing its papers three times weekly as well.
This morning, editor Jim Amoss delivered a memo to The Times-Picayune newsroom staff, reiterating the three-day-a-week printing schedule, but adding, “I want to dispel some rumors: There could be some salary adjustments, depending on changes in job descriptions. But most people will make what they make today, if not more.”
Gambit also notes the rally is scheduled for the same day that Times-Pic employees were supposed to begin one-on-one meetings with company executives over their not-so-certain futures with the company, but those meetings since been postponed. Significant layoffs are expected with the rollout of the new format:
No explanation was offered, and the change was announced verbally, employee to employee, not on paper.
“They didn’t put out a memo this time, because they know by now anything on paper gets out of the newsroom as soon as it’s printed,” said one newsroom employee.
Another employee speculated that Advance Publications, which owns The Times-Picayune, wanted to avoid further bad publicity should any fired employees leave the T-P headquarters or bureaus and go to the support rally — which will be covered live by local television news, and is planned to last until sunset.
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